AUBURN – When the new Auburn University Student Center opened for use last fall, it was apparent in the first few days that people were having trouble finding their way around the building. In order to come up with a way-finding solution, Dean of Students Johnny Green sought help from within the university, more specifically the Department of Industrial Design.
“We have so much talent here that it just made so much sense for us to tap into that ability,” Green said.
Green asked Jerrod Windham, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Design, and two of his graduate students, Zack Gray and Lauren Weigel, to create a signage system for the building.
“There are lots of ways to get to a specific place in the Student Center, but our goal was to get them there the fastest way possible,” Gray said.
The signs that Windham and his students designed not only do just that, but they will also be recyclable and easily changeable. The signs will be made entirely of aluminum and include individual plaques that can be replaced as venues in the building change.
Advanced Graphics, a company owned by Auburn alum Sean Snow, class of ’92, manufactured a prototype which was installed at the entrance facing the Haley Center. This will allow the designers to get visitors’ feedback and determine if any changes need to be made.
“I am very pleased,” Green said. “It’s attractive, functional and very appropriate.”
Windham, who teaches a class in sustainable design, said their biggest challenge was in the longevity of the overall design.
“We wanted to support Dr. Green’s efforts to make the building as sustainable as possible,” Windham said.
When starting the semester-long project the students first studied the signage systems in airports, metropolitan cities and other schools. They presented Green with three options.
The design that was chosen identifies different wings of the building to give viewers a reference point from outside, such as the stadium wing. The signs for each floor of the building will be made a different color.
Another industrial design graduate student, Joshua Ekandem, is designing interactive kiosks that may be placed at main entrances of the building in the future.
(Contributed by Lisa Marshall.)